THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2011|
Posted by: Siobhan Fludder
As a follow up to 2009's Rockwell, Heavy Meadow maintains and perhaps even expands Rossi's use of quirky eccentricities as she shifts further into a lightly synthesized production. Every song operates with a soft, seemingly unassuming rhythm. The effect is very pleasant, yet as a whole, the album does not explore much progression among the eleven tracks. It favors simplicity, but perhaps too much so. While the tunes are all digested quite easily, the completed result suffers the threat of becoming lost within a blur of eccentricities that make it difficult to pinpoint the finer moments. The album is certainly packed with charm, but the focused direction may hinder Rossi's ability to expand her audience. It is doubtful, however, that this was her aim; therefore, in terms of achieving a specific sonic expression, she certainly has found a unique voice.
First track, "Candyland", immediately proves to live up to the whimsical indication in the title, a theme that remains throughout the entire album. Another element of this track that is reflected in the entire LP would be her sing-song whisper, conveying a nearly poetic accompaniment to a constant, unchanging rhythm. While this is clearly her style, it is easy for the listener's attention to wander as the tone of each song has difficulty pursuing any sort of recognizable shift. Though this is nearly always the case, some tunes make attempts at kicking up the album's excitement. "Crushing Limbs" provides a slightly edgier melody and dials up the electronic intonations. There is even the smallest of a Reggae hint as the song comes to a close.
Rossi's unconventional take on rhythmic patterns continue with "Hatchet", which churns around abruptly halting beats. These quietly bizarre inflections within the album carry on during track "Sandstorm". Though following a clearer melody, the introduction of an accordion in this number emphasizes the circus-esque vibe that seems to hover within most Heavy Meadow songs. "Switchblade", on the other hand, would be the track on the album which most distinctly operates within the typical structure of a pop song. Even so, the soft and carefully pronounced vocals constrain the track within Anni Rossi's tendency for delicate quirks, never allowing the peaceful basics to fully develop into the catchy crutches of mainstream pop music. "Texan Plains" is another of these productions that appear to open with a seductive guitar riff, but soon is unmistakeably stamped with Rossi's unique spin, mostly credited to her precise vocal style.
At this point in the album, the dedication to careful simplicity seems to have collapsed all of the tracks into a single memory. "Land Majestic", while one of the brighter tracks, does not capture an individual identity for itself. "The Fight" displays Rossi's ability to carry melodies, as opposed to the rest of the album's lyrical style that centers around a nearly spoken expression, yet this only occurs during brief snippets of the song. "Cha Cha Cha" flows well with the delicate nature of her vocals, but falls right alongside the other whimsical grooves of the album.
With tracks like "Frame Me Right", the classical style upon which Rossi built her musical expression is exposed, giving listeners a peak at the development towards these unique creations. Although the album does not play into the typical goals of music to provide catchy hooks and soaring riffs, instead it explores the careful boundaries of instrumental basics. Throughout Heavy Meadow, it is evident that Anni Rossi has achieved the sound she set out to make. The tracks may struggle to possess their own individual flavors, but the individuality of the album as a whole cannot be questioned.